Thursday, February 28, 2008

Out There with the Beams -- February 2008

Dear Family and Friends,

How is everybody? This is Vanessa writing this month. We miss you a lot! I want to start this letter by thanking the Lord Jesus Christ for his awesome faithfulness and love. And also by thanking you all for your prayers and support. Thank you for letting God use you by helping us.

We have been really busy lately. Our water well project is growing very fast. Please pray for Danny and his team (Carlos and now Pedro) as they will be traveling to a community called Cuatro Canadas to drill wells. It is about three hours away (not very far) but our roads do tend to get in really bad condition due to rain and sometimes even disappear! As I just mentioned, Pedro, is the new member of our water team. He is a 19 year old boy who used to be a little boy when we met him. He is making his transition out of the Talita Cumi Home. So please pray for this transition to be smooth and successful.

Something else that is super exciting and recent is the Monday morning Spanish Bible study for men that Danny and friends from our mission have started. These are the names of the men attending so you can lift them up in prayer: Pedro, Marcos, Carlos, Warren, Rudy, and Danny.

As for me, I will be doing something new and fun this time. I will be helping at the Centro de Vida (the Life Center) to create (painting, organizing and decorating) a boutique for moms! I know it sounds very superficial but it is not! Moms who seek help at the center will be given points for attending church, reading their Bible, going to Bible studies, etc… those points will then allow them to purchase baby items as well as mommy items and clothes! As you can tell I am very excited and ready to start. The Centro de Vida is a wonderful ministry and I love working with them.

Our kids are doing great both at home and at school. Isaiah will be starting Tae Kwon Do classes. We attended one and he did great. He is very excited about the white suit!
Luciana has the lead role in a school. This is huge! So please pray for her.
And Nathaniel is getting very tall and handsome! At 6’2” he is taller than Danny now. He and his daddy are racing bicycles on a local Bolivian team. Praise the Lord for our children. I am grateful to have such wonderful kids and plan on enjoying them every minute we have them at home.

We will be having lots of teams this spring and summer. If you are planning on coming here please know that the Beams are praying for you. And also that we are ready to work and have fun together! We are already discussing all the possibilities and there are so many!

Another praise is that we have started the process of sending two of the oldest girls from Cristo Viene Home to technical school thanks to a gift we received from one of you! Here are the names three ladies with whom I have been sharing Jesus and could really use some prayer:
Lucy, Angie and Susi.

Please know that we love you and cherish every moment we have spent together. Our prayer for you and your family is that the Lord will give you ten times more for every blessing you give us and that his Spirit will go with you wherever you go!


Daniel and Vanessa Beams
Casilla 3740
Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Bolivia Telephone: 011-591-3351-1087
Blogs:, www.simplewatersolutions.blogspot.comPhoto Gallery:

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Carnival in Santa Cruz -- Deadly Fun

We just finished the week of Carnival here in Santa Cruz. This is a holiday much like Marti Gras in New Orleans. This is the first year we have actually stayed in Santa Cruz. The majority of Bolivians love this holiday, but most ex-pats have advised us to either get out of town or stay locked up in our house for the four-day-long party. The festivities started out mildly enough with a parade on Saturday, and people throwing water balloons, buckets of water, shooting squirt guns, etc. But the party degenerates fast, with the majority of people getting stumbling drunk on Sunday through Tuesday. They say Tuesday is the day that God leaves earth and forgets about his people, so we (they) are free to do whatever they want. On Ash Wednesday, Catholics go to church to confession. I don't want to stereotype Catholics, but I think this is really their holiday. The Evangelical Christians I spoke with said they do not participate in any aspect of Carnival. As the days progress, people begin throwing mud, oil and paint. Many of the taxis and busses actually smear their entire vehicles with mud so that the other nasty stuff that people throw will not mess up their paint.

To escape the madness on Monday, we rented a cabin near the Lomas de Arena (sand dunes), half an hour out of town. It was a great time of hiking, swimming, horseback riding, and (for me) photography—truly a relaxing couple of days. I didn't try to get any pictures of the maddness that is Carnival, but here are couple of pictures from our tranquil little get-away.

As we drove back into town on Tuesday evening, the roads were full of drunk drivers swerving from side to side, and drunk people stumbling down the middle of the road. I have never in my life seen such a large percentage of the population drunk in the street like that. At the time I thought that it must be an extremely dangerous time to be out and about, but I didn’t know exactly how dangerous until I heard the next day that 30 people had been killed on the streets of Santa Cruz over the holiday weekend (and that was just in our city).

When I talked to Carlos the next day I found out that one of our neighbors out at the workshop had become a statistic as well. The son of the neighbor lady who washes Carlos’ clothes was killed on the highway on Tuesday night. Coming home drunk at 10:00 that evening, he stepped out in front of a car as he tried to cross the highway. The car sped away without stopping, leaving him dead on the side of the road. He was only 22 years old.